President George W. Bush’s 60th birthday, celebrated today, July 6, 2006, places him among the leading ranks of the nation’s 75 million baby boomers as they march into their senior years. A Pew Research Center survey finds many boomers are looking ahead to their own retirement while balancing a full plate of family responsibilities — either raising minor children or providing financial and other forms of support to adult children or to aging parents. The baby boomers currently range in age from 41 through 60 and, like middle-aged generations before them, they are in a stage of life when it is natural to give more than to take when it comes to family relationships. However, changing demographics within families have prolonged for boomers this period of being “sandwiched” between the needs of their parents and their children. In the past year, 50% of all boomers were raising one or more young children and/or providing primary financial support to one or more adult children, while another 17% whose only children are ages 18 and older were providing some financial assistance to at least one such child. In addition, the survey finds that two-in-ten boomers were providing some financial help to a parent. Few boomers bear all these responsibilities simultaneously; about 13% are providing some financial support to a parent at the same time as they are also either raising a minor child or supporting an adult child. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.